The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

#66 in my reading challenge for the year, Diane Setterfield’s Thirteenth Tale rescued me from my reading slump. A friend called it something like a ripping-good read, and I agree. It’s full of juicy passages ripe for quoting about the love of reading and stories. This is a literary mystery that proudly displays its gothic roots. Setterfield isn’t coy about the books to which she’s paying tribute; she mentions Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, and Wilkie Collins’s Woman in White several times. The book is rendered timeless by the sparing use of modern detail, and the complete lack of brand display that many authors use as a shorthand for characterization. I was loath to put it down, and kept telling my husband “I MUST finish my book.” I don’t believe it is in the same class as its forebears, but it is an engaging and compelling book that earned one of my top compliments: I bought it for our home library after returning the library’s copy.

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